Solutions To Flooding Still Sought

On sunny days after big rainstorms, the water is still at the top of the sewer grates. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

  BERKELEY – Residents from a shore community have continued to push for solutions to a flooding problem that the township is still working on.

  The worst area is the intersection of East Longport and Narragansette avenues. Residents said that sometimes there is more than a foot of water there. A lagoon neighborhood near there gets cut off, and vehicles can’t safely get through.

  Days after a heavy storm, rain water is still on the road, puddling at the overflowing sewer grates. Longport resident John DiStefano said he noticed that the flooding coincides with nor’easters, or strong winds from the east.

  Residents have been coming to Township Council meetings on and off for more than a year.

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  Longport resident Donna Amon said she was talking to someone in the office of Congressman Andy Kim who informed her that the federal infrastructure bill has money available for towns to do projects like this.

Photo by Chris Lundy

  “I’ve been stuck in the house. I have MS. I’ve been stuck until the tide went down,” she said.

  Councilman James Byrnes said that there’s a sewer easement in the area. This could be used as a way to bypass the flooding if needed.

  It would be closed off most of the time and would only be open in case of an emergency, Township Attorney Lauren Staiger clarified. The owner would also have to agree to this.

  Mayor Carmen Amato said that there could be condemnation proceedings on the property. “One way or another, a road will be put in.”

  The area is low lying, but officials have said that raising the roads might just divert the water into nearby homes.

  Residents have said that the water in the streets is not just coming down, but coming up as well. They are concerned that a combination of a rising water table and other environmental factors means that instead of water draining from the road to local bodies of water, the opposite is happening. Some have noted that the water in the streets is sometimes saltwater. What’s even worse is when the water lingers in the winter and freezes over.

  Many of the residents impacted are Berkeley residents, although one of the flooding areas is the intersection in Ocean Gate. Additionally, these are county roads that are flooding. So, that means there are three jurisdictions involved. The Berkeley residents literally drive out of their streets, go through Ocean Gate and then back into Berkeley to get to Route 9. Their only way in or out is through the area that floods.

The intersection of East Longport Avenue and Narragansette Avenue floods frequently. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

  Everyone has ideas on how to fix the problem. One resident suggested just raising the middle of the road. Some said certain valves on the sewers would solve everything. Others suggested cleaning out the sewers.

  Shore areas are prone to flooding due to their location. However, this is becoming a more common occurrence in areas like the Normandy Beach section of Toms River and Brick. Some residents are reporting that areas are flooding frequently in recent years that never flooded before.